General, Style

Prepping for Your First Capsule Wardrobe

I’ve been wanting a wardrobe overhaul for years, probably since I was in college. I’ve always loved putting outfits together and dressing my best, but it’s been years since I’ve felt truly inspired by what’s in my closet. That may be partly because I live in a climate that is relatively warm (and often hot) for most of the year, and I don’t like dressing for summer. That’s a super unfortunate reality when most of your wardrobe needs to consist of shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. Don’t even get me started on the challenges of living in Southern California in the fall, when temperatures still soar near and above 90 degrees (it’s 89 as I write this mid-September), while back in my home state of Connecticut, friends and family are swapping out their summer clothes for sweaters and boots. But I digress.

I’ve been wanting a wardrobe overhaul for years, probably since I was in college. I’ve always loved putting outfits together and dressing my best, but it’s been years since I’ve felt truly inspired by what’s in my closet. That may be partly because I live in a climate that is relatively warm (and often hot) for most of the year, and I don’t like dressing for summer. That’s a super unfortunate reality when most of your wardrobe needs to consist of shorts, tank tops, and flip flops. Don’t even get me started on the challenges of living in Southern California in the fall, when temperatures still soar near and above 90 degrees (it’s 89 as I write this mid-September), while back in my home state of Connecticut, friends and family are swapping out their summer clothes for sweaters and boots. But I digress.

This post isn’t about the woes of missing autumn. I’ve recently done a lot of reading up on capsule wardrobes. I used to scoff at people who chose minimal wardrobes (seriously, HOW can you live with wearing the same shirt over and over?) But then I realized that I already have a core set of 4 – 5 t-shirts that I rotate through on a weekly basis. Once that clicked in my mind, I decided to do some more digging and figure out if capsule wardrobing is for me, and what I would specifically need in order to get started.

So, what IS capsule wardrobing? Here are some core elements:

  • As the phrase suggests, capsule wardrobes are literally “capsules” of clothing, essentially keeping your wardrobe to core pieces that you rotate through on a regular basis.
  • Capsule wardrobes are often seasonal, meaning that you have a capsule wardrobe for spring, another one for summer, another one for fall, and another one for winter.
  • Capsule wardrobes are typically smaller than a typical wardrobe: some rules suggest that you keep your capsule wardrobe to a set amount of pieces (I read somewhere that 37 is the magical number. This may or may not include your shoes, outerwear, and accessories, it just depends on what methodology you want to follow)
  • One key rule of capsule wardrobes is that you shop for your wardrobe ONCE, and as soon as the wardrobe is set, you do NOT shop for any clothing to add to your capsule for the remainder of the season.
  • Some methodologies suggest that you stick to the 80/20 rule: 80% of your capsule wardrobe are core pieces that you wear throughout the year, and 20% are seasonal add-on pieces that you rotate through every few months. Others will have completely separate wardrobes for each season, and some may have core pieces for spring/summer, and a separate wardrobe for fall/winter.

Simply put, capsule wardrobes are smaller, seasonal, and encourages minimal spending on clothes. As you can see from the guidelines above, there are many ways you can interpret capsule wardrobing to fit your style and preferences. There are a plethora of resources you can check out to learn more about capsule wardrobe, from people that are way more well-versed in it than I am:

Caroline Joy // Un-Fancy Capsule Wardrobe Planning PDF

The Sustainable Edit // Capsule Wardrobe or Minimal Wardrobe

I also made a video to kick off my capsule wardrobe project! Follow along on my YouTube channel for updates and hopefully full capsule wardrobe look books!

xo Carly

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